The largest randomized, controlled, HIV behavioral intervention study conducted in the United States found that even among persons considered hardest to reach, such interventions can cut high risk sexual behaviors in half and more than double regular use of condoms.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Multisite HIV Prevention Trial enrolled 3,706 men and women in 37 inner-city, community-based clinics. Those who attended HIV prevention sessions that focused on motivation and skills to reduce high-risk sexual behaviors reported significant reductions across a range of sexual risk indicators over a one-year period.
The seven-session intervention reduced the incidence of gonorrhea in men by half. Incidence of gonorrhea is an indicator of unprotected sexual behavior.
NIMH Director Steven E. Hyman, M.D., said, "Reducing high risk behaviors is still the best way to prevent new HIV infections. NIMH has identified an effective strategy that could be adopted by public health and community organizations all across America. If these behavioral changes were maintained for even one year, there would be a profound, cost-effective, public health impact in the communities that adopted this program."
Researchers in seven sites in five metropolitan areas recruited participants
from three distinct populations at risk of acquiring HIV and other sexually
transmitted diseases (STDs): men and women in public STD clinics and women
attending public primary health care clinics. Sixty-eight percent of the participants
were African American and twenty percent were Hispanic; most were single, unemployed, and treated
previously for STDs, and all were
at high behavioral risk for HIV. Rates of HIV infection and AIDS are higher
and ethnic minority populations, especially African Americans, who represented
45% of new AIDS cases in 1997. Heterosexual transmission is rising rapidly,
especially among ethnic minority women. The Clinton Administrati
Contact: Rayford Kytle
NIH/National Institute of Mental Health